I have often been asked how I happened to write it, and the answer is: "Sheer frustration!" I have always loved Joseph's story. I think it is the greatest rags-to-riches story ever written. But I could find only two types of books about Joseph. The first were what I call "sermon books" which took two paragraphs to tell a portion of the story and ten pages to explain what should be learned from it. I always felt vaguely insulted by this, since I could figure out the lessons all on my own. The second type were stories which began with the biblical character of Joseph, but ended up in some alternate universe, or else were so historically inaccurate that I nearly hurled them across the room. (The one which had steel knives in it was the one that finally made me give up!) I decided, therefore, that if I wanted a good story about Joseph which was true to the biblical account and historically accurate, I would have to write it myself!
I had done most of the library research for the book by 1990. My plans were interrupted for the next ten years by the arrival of children, but by 2000 I was itching to get back to the project. My husband alerted me to the opportunity to present my idea for this story to the editors from the Review and Herald, and I arrived at the meeting with two sample chapters (which are now the prologue and the first half of chapter 1) and an outline for the rest of the book. I waited with some trepidation while they read my material, and I didn't know what to make of the silence which ensued when they finished. Then they looked at me and said, "You have got to write this. We want to read the rest of it!"
That was in April of 2000. They asked for the entire manuscript by the end of August. I took a deep breath and said, "OK." I spent the next six weeks updating my research to cover the years from 1990 to 2000. The first of June I started writing, and I worked on the book for twelve to eighteen hours a day, six days a week, until I finally hit "save" for the last time exactly at midnight on Labor Day. (I checked the clock!) Even though the majority of the work was done, the book went through two editing jobs before it landed on Gerald Wheeler's desk, and he did an unparalleled job of cutting it down and tightening my writing.Joseph: A Story went on sale in February of 2002, but by that time, I was deep into research for the next one, about Ruth and Boaz.